COVID-19 Treatment Program to help patients with persistent COVID-19 symptoms

Jan 21, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. – Carondelet Health Network is assisting those who have had COVID-19 in its Cardiac and Pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Like other respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 can be the cause of respiratory complications and lasting lung damage. Individuals who have experienced long-term COVID-19 symptoms, also known as long-haulers, can have symptoms that are continuations of the initial infection.

Common side effects of long-term COVID-19 include fatigue and shortness of breath, headaches, memory and concentration difficulties, cough and chest pain, and heart palpitations. Long-term symptoms of COVID-19 can affect several organ systems in the body, but the most concerning are those that affect the lungs, heart and brain.


“Many patients may have had a COPD diagnosis prior to getting COVID-19, but we’re seeing a lot of patients who have never had any lung issues and never smoked. The persistent symptoms of COVID-19 can create a cycle where patients are not able to perform normal activities, leading to the worsening of symptoms. We help break that cycle by providing therapy and treatment in a monitored environment, geared towards the patient’s specific needs,” said Mike Barker, program supervisor.

Carondelet offers two locations for post-COVID treatment with Cardiac Rehabilitation at St. Mary’s Hospital and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs utilize a comprehensive combination of exercise training, health education, breathing techniques and support that patients make healthy changes and return to an active lifestyle.

“Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab can be extremely helpful for patients recovering from COVID-19. Our clinical care teams work with patients to create an individualized care plan for long-term benefits. We are incredibly proud to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary services to our community, assisting patients in their recovery,” said Monica C. Vargas-Mahar, Market Chief Executive Officer for Carondelet Health Network.

The Cardiac and Pulmonary team of therapists, exercise physiologists, nurses, and physicians work to help patients cope with the physical and psychological challenges they face as a result of COVID-19. The goal is to progress patients through a treatment plan to improve throughout rehab so that they have a blueprint on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while they are home.

The rehabilitation programs offer a 9-week treatment period where patients comes in twice a week for 18 sessions. Each session, includes a portion dedicated to exercise therapy, and another dedicated to patient education, customized to the individual patient’s needs.

Interviews are available:

  • WHO: Mike Barker, program supervisor, and two patients who have completed or are currently in the program
  • WHEN: January 25, 2022 at 11:00 AM
  • WHERE: St. Joseph’s Hospital, meet in front lobby

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